Today we’d like to introduce you to George Caldera.
George, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
After attending St. Mary’s College and graduating from Cal Poly Pomona. I pursued a career in Business Management. I worked as an Administrative Manager for over 15 years. The stress of working in the private industry during the economic downfall made me rethink my real passion in life. With my love for cooking, I decided to take culinary classes.
I looked forward to every class because cooking helped me forget about the stresses of my job. When the company I worked for closed due to outsourcing, I decided it would be a perfect opportunity for a career change. I knew cooking made me happy. Later that year, my experience in business management proved valuable and I decided to take the leap and open my own business called The Knotted Apron. I’m a family man with three kids in which I love to cook for. I love having my kids around in the kitchen; Cooking meals together. So I thought it would be a great idea to start cooking classes and teach people how to make dishes that can be easily replicated at home using everyday ingredients. Most importantly, create an atmosphere for these clients to have fun doing it by playing music in the background, dancing and enjoying an occasional drink. I immediately hired a few chefs and they begin to start teaching these classes. The classes started slowly. However, something traumatic occurred in my life. My 19 year old son surrendered his life to suicide. Instead of giving up the business. I decided to start teaching the cooking classes and participate in food festivals in honor of him. He was my biggest fan I had to honor him by not giving up. Since then, my classes have been selling out and many opportunities have come in my direction.
Not only do I conduct cooking classes. We rent out the venue as well. My venue has a New York feel to it with a nice outdoor patio. People call my place a speak easy location because it’s hidden. I’ve been fortunate enough to be booked year-round and I continue to have success in that area as well by providing exceptional service with a very young staff.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
When I initially opened the business. I had other chefs teach my classes. I lacked confidence in my teaching and decided to focus more on the venue rental side of the business. I realized my expenses begin to increase and I was losing money and falling into the hole. It became worse when my son passed away. I didn’t want to work or be surrounded by people. After a few months, I turned that pain into motivation and I begin to teach the classes and participate in food festivals as myself. Since the change. Business has been great.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into The Knotted Apron story. Tell us more about the business.
The Knotted Apron initially opened solely as a cooking school. However, we are now open as a venue as well. We have private events such as weddings, birthdays parties and more. I also conduct public events which include: Social Events involving jazz, cigars, pop up restaurants, and other special interest.
I’m proud that my business is small but it’s making some noise in the industry as an elite venue/cooking school and I’m making a buzz as an elite chef. As I am starting to working with many people in the industry as well as picking up sponsorships.
My venue is unique. It’s not a hall. Its both indoor and outdoors. Also, it’s located in uptown Whittier. You can literally pass up my venue from the Main Street because it’s literally a single door entrance that leads into office space followed by my venue.
As for my classes, people love the experience because it hands on and entertaining.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
When I first opened the business. The mayor of Whittier was the first person to come over and thank me for opening this concept to the city of Whittier. He would make multiple stops to my location bringing his friends and family. He wanted to let people know what I was about. He as well as the Whittier Business Association helped develop my business into an instant success. I was very fortunate and lucky to start a business in a great city.
- Cooking Classes are $65 per person
- Cooking Con El Corazon Experience is $80 per person
- Address: 6712 Greenleaf Avenue
Whittier CA. 90601
- Website: www.theknottedapron.com
- Phone: (323) 607-6303
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: theknottedapron
- Facebook: The Knotted Apron
- Twitter: The Knotted Apron
- Yelp: The Knotted Apron